Odette Bazil: Penal Code 301 and Turkish scholars

Odette Bazil: Penal Code 301 and Turkish scholars

Journalists are the conscience of the people. By removing and killing them, Turkey is killing and removing its own conscience.

Again, another Turkish journalist is to be thrown in jail for - according to Turkish Penal Code 301 (insulting the Turkish Nation, the Turkish Republic, its government or governmental institutions), one of the leading London-based Armenian activists, Odette Bazil says.

PanARMENIAN.Net - She continues to say:

“The name of that Turkish journalist is Temel Demirer.

At his first trial, he had been charged for the crime cited in Penal Code 301 and had been sentenced to two years in prison. Then he was told that the sentence could be withheld if during the coming 3 years he would refrain from committing the same crime.

Immediately after the trial, just in front of the Court buildings Temel Demirer said: “If, for the coming 3 years, I don’t say there was an Armenian genocide in Turkey, I will be acquitted. Right now, five minutes after the trial, without waiting for another 3 years I say: the Turkish State is the murderer of Hrant Dink. Hrant Dink was not killed because he was Armenian. Hrant Dink was killed by the Turkish State for saying that there had been an Armenian genocide in Turkey. If the Court security forces or the MINISTRY OF INJUSTICE that have postponed my trial do not open another trial, they will be committing a crime”

“I am not inciting anyone to commit a crime. What I am saying is that ideas can NOT and should NOT be shackled. I have learned from ISMAIL BESICKCI, FIKRET BASKAYA and BASKIN ORAN (all Turkish Academics imprisoned or tried for their work ) that FREEDOM OF THOUGHT MUST STAND STRONG. There has been an Armenian genocide in this country. The Turkish State DID kill Hrant Dink. These are my thoughts. So, if you want , you try me again.

On 12th April 2012, I wrote an article, wishing that there would be one and half million good Turks with a conscience who would, EACH ONE, do one good deed for ONE of the one and half million innocent victims of the Armenian genocide.

I never believed, even in my wildest dreams, that my wish would come true so quickly and from such important quarters for there is a huge difference between what is said publicly by an ordinary man or woman in the street and what is researched, written , advocated and published by a journalist. Every journalist’s prerogative and duty is to report the truth, to report what has happened, to make the reader aware of that truth and make that reader motivated by what has happened.

Journalists are the conscience of the people. By removing and killing them, Turkey is killing and removing its own conscience.

Today journalists in Turkey are being prosecuted, tortured – even killed – for affirming that the Ottoman government of 1915 DID commit the genocide of one and half million innocent Armenians. Many journalists have died because of the tortures received, many publishing houses and offices have been set to fire and dozens of Turkish Scholars have left their families, their friends and their country in fear of reprisal and in fear of their lives. Now, protected in foreign lands, they are writing in foreign papers and are even publishing in foreign languages but, committed to their ideals of freedom and justice, they advocate with more effectiveness for the condemnation (by Turkey and the world at large) of the Armenian genocide, knowing that at last they can proclaim the truth without being hunted down, jailed and tortured.

By removing its journalists and making them disappear in the secret holes of its jails, by silencing them hoping that they will be so scared that they will never speak again of the Armenian genocide, Turkey is, like an ostrich, hiding its head in the sand and is only delaying what will one day be acclaimed and accepted in Turkey, not only by its journalists, but by its entire population. Soon there will be one and half million good Turks with a conscience who will stand up, will confess to the committed genocide, doing ONE good deed for each one of the one and half million innocent victims of the Armenian genocide

Today, in Turkey students are questioning their teachers about the empty pages of their History books, where the period of Turkish history between 1915 and 1923 is not mentioned, nor printed, nor described or discussed. The Turkish student, wanting to know, will ask its family members. Sometimes there might be an elderly relative who will describe the atrocities committed. If that student has a conscience, then it will carry its research and will find the truth. It is the moral duty for that student to tell its Turkish compatriots and the world at large of what has happened in 1915 .It is the moral duty of that Turkish student to become a good Turk and do one good deed for one innocent victim of the genocide it has found out to have happened in its country.

Today in Turkey, the young educated Turk is asking why are they so many churches in Turkey whereas Turkey is a Muslim State, why are these churches empty? When and who did worship in them and Where are these people? Each Turk, be it young or old, male or female, educated or not, MUST ask where are these people? What happened to them? And WHY did it happen?

Today the Turkish dignitaries visit various countries who, having interests to protect in Turkey would not shy from any injustice, any lie or deceit to protect these interest, and lobby these countries to join the Turkish State in its denial of events which are questioned, publicised , researched and exposed by the Turkish population and specially by its young intellectuals and its journalists .

Turkey must understand and accept that the process of acknowledgement and condemnation of the Armenian genocide has already begun in Turkey. It will never be stopped.

Is the Turkish government to imprison all its journalists, all its historians, all its intellectuals, all its good people with a conscience?

Are new jails to be built in Turkey, equal to the same number of mass graves which were dug in 1915 to bury those million and half innocent victims, and are these jails to be used to bury the truth?

Now, in 2013, although the dead Armenians will never be able to leave their graves to testify, but the Turkish journalists who serve their two or three years sentences in Turkish jails WILL get out one day and WILL testify.

Most revolutions are instigated by young idealist intellectuals and are exposed to the public by journalists. So far, the Turkish government has partly succeeded in keeping its young intellectuals in the dark and the crimes committed by their ancestors a secret, but , day by day, with an increasing number , with accrued effectiveness and sharpened awareness of every citizen’s right, Turkish Scholars , historians and journalists are speaking out and are advocating for the truth about the Armenian genocide .

Similar to the Armenian women who have never been able to bring themselves to talk about the rapes and the sexual outrages committed against them by the Turks during the Armenian genocide because of the SHAME they felt, maybe the Turkish government too cannot bring itself to talk about the crimes committed by its ancestors because of the SHAME it feels.

Yes any human being, any government, any state would feel – very rightly - a deep and dark SHAME to find itself the heir to such morbid legacy, a legacy of injustice, of crime, of theft, of torture, of rape and of murder.

The SHAME felt towards this legacy should generate apologies and remorse NOT denial and persecution of the ones who expose that legacy and that truth.

Ten years ago, my grand-son Connor Bazil whose mother is American, wrote in his homework ; “Turkey must say yes its great-grand fathers had killed the Armenians because , like between friends, once a bad thing has been done, if the guilty party says Sorry , then friendship can start again, then that bad action can be forgiven and once again people who are neighbours can live next to each other without hating each other , so two countries will not be enemies anymore”.

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